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The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel

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In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau's story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau's vision anew as artist Niklas Asker fait In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau's story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau's vision anew as artist Niklas Asker faithfully brings to life the glare of the lamps, the dinginess of the streets, and the brilliance of the first sunrise.


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In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau's story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau's vision anew as artist Niklas Asker fait In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau's story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau's vision anew as artist Niklas Asker faithfully brings to life the glare of the lamps, the dinginess of the streets, and the brilliance of the first sunrise.

30 review for The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel

  1. 3 out of 5

    David

    HOW DID I MISS THIS BOOK??? A graphic novel interpretation of a book I had never really heard of... and let me tell you, I am NOT sorry I noticed it on the bookshelf, and thought "huh. this is interesting" ...interesting enough to pick UP and check OUT of the library. Really, they're lucky I'm letting go of their copy and getting my own, because this book is THAT GOOD. Have you ever watched those movies, as a kid probably, where a child finds out there is a secret world, a secret city, or a secret HOW DID I MISS THIS BOOK??? A graphic novel interpretation of a book I had never really heard of... and let me tell you, I am NOT sorry I noticed it on the bookshelf, and thought "huh. this is interesting" ...interesting enough to pick UP and check OUT of the library. Really, they're lucky I'm letting go of their copy and getting my own, because this book is THAT GOOD. Have you ever watched those movies, as a kid probably, where a child finds out there is a secret world, a secret city, or a secret people just... OVER THERE? What... what if it was the opposite? No, go on... Think about it for a moment. I'll be right here. Yeah... you're just living your life... and BAM. You're the Secret World in question. Yep. That's how it works. Nothing is, as you thought it WAS... the whole concept of the WORLD you live in was overturned, and not because fairies live in the basement, or little people live in the forest... but because YOU... EXIST. How's that strike ya? If you're me, that strikes you like a five-star book, that's how! Now... where is my piggybank... it has a date with a hammer, so I can get me a copy of this for myself... ...and someone said something about a novel, too... *Crash!*

  2. 4 out of 5

    A Voracious Reader (a.k.a. Carol)

    *Book source ~ Library The Builders created the city of Ember long ago. The only light is what is produced by the water running underneath the city, but the electricity is beginning to fail no matter how many times repairs are made. In addition, the city is running out of food stores and the government is corrupt. Two children, Lina and Doon, discover a way out of the city, but will the citizens believe them? Unfortunately, they have to flee before they’ve told anyone about the potential way out. *Book source ~ Library The Builders created the city of Ember long ago. The only light is what is produced by the water running underneath the city, but the electricity is beginning to fail no matter how many times repairs are made. In addition, the city is running out of food stores and the government is corrupt. Two children, Lina and Doon, discover a way out of the city, but will the citizens believe them? Unfortunately, they have to flee before they’ve told anyone about the potential way out. Have they jumped from the frying pan into the fire? Or is there really a better place than Ember? I haven’t read the books though they are on my TBR since my daughter enjoyed The City of Ember. In fact, I picked up this graphic novel because she did enjoy it and after she read it I thought, what the heck and picked it up. It was a quick read as most graphic novels are and I really liked the artwork. The story gives me a pretty good idea of what the novel is about and I’ll still read it (eventually lol) because there is no way for a graphic novel to tell the whole deal. All-in-all a very enjoyable read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eesha

    2.5 actually, I have read the actual novel and I personally thought it was much better than the graphic novel. Also I have read the second book and it was great, n does anyone know if there is a graphic novel for that too? Anyways, especially considering the fact that it's a comic book, I was upset to see that all the action was not expressed very well. You couldn't get into the book, and it kind of just skimmed through the story. It didn't have all the details. Maybe I had too high expectations 2.5 actually, I have read the actual novel and I personally thought it was much better than the graphic novel. Also I have read the second book and it was great, n does anyone know if there is a graphic novel for that too? Anyways, especially considering the fact that it's a comic book, I was upset to see that all the action was not expressed very well. You couldn't get into the book, and it kind of just skimmed through the story. It didn't have all the details. Maybe I had too high expectations, but if you've read the book than maybe you understand that the graphic novel is just lacking with all the emotion and details that the book did. However I think creating a graphic novel was a great idea and it'd be interesting to read some other graphich novels for the actual novel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    babyhippoface

    I'm generally not a graphic novel person. All the busyness makes me a little crazy. But I liked the novel City of Ember so much that I wanted to see how Lina's world would look in a graphic novel. And it's pretty good. Much like I imagined (although Lina herself is not the way I pictured her). Some kids who would not read the novel will read this. That's a plus. And this is well done. But there is so much more to the story that has been left out. All the tension that is so beautifully placed into I'm generally not a graphic novel person. All the busyness makes me a little crazy. But I liked the novel City of Ember so much that I wanted to see how Lina's world would look in a graphic novel. And it's pretty good. Much like I imagined (although Lina herself is not the way I pictured her). Some kids who would not read the novel will read this. That's a plus. And this is well done. But there is so much more to the story that has been left out. All the tension that is so beautifully placed into the storyline just isn't there. There isn't time. The format doesn't allow for the language that builds that tension. Example: the scene where Lina has been captured by the guards and is being taken away when the lights go out. She escapes to the rooftop then has to try to find her way down and out without being seen. That lasts about 12 panels in the graphic novel. I got the idea, but I wasn't nervous for Lina, the way I was when I read the novel. And the egress scenes--Lina and Doon had to endure a lot more danger than I felt here. If you can't get a kid to read the book, then hand him this one. But don't shortchange him and give him this first just because graphic novels are "cool". Maybe it's just because I'm not big on graphic novels, but the original book was so much better.

  5. 3 out of 5

    Angie

    SQUEAL! Got to see a preview of this one. The good ... the graphic novel style? It's totally growing on me. The artwork in this one is COOL. Managed to totally convey the sense of place without giving everything away. The not quite as good ... for the sake of space (I would guess) some parts of the story were abbreviated. Now, if you hadn't read the original you may not even notice it. But if you HAVE read it ... I kind of felt like it left the pacing and FEEL of the story a little wanting. Exampl SQUEAL! Got to see a preview of this one. The good ... the graphic novel style? It's totally growing on me. The artwork in this one is COOL. Managed to totally convey the sense of place without giving everything away. The not quite as good ... for the sake of space (I would guess) some parts of the story were abbreviated. Now, if you hadn't read the original you may not even notice it. But if you HAVE read it ... I kind of felt like it left the pacing and FEEL of the story a little wanting. Examples include how fast they decipher the clues in the note. Lizzie's friendship with Looper. (Is it just me or is it so quick here it's a little untoward?) Lina telling Doon about her grandmother. To me? It's kind of like the difference between a movie and the book. Both are different art forms and have strengths and weaknesses. So your best bet? ENJOY BOTH.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Briel

    I'll always like the story of The City of Ember, but I'm pretty sure I'll always like it best in it's original book form. I wasn't crazy about this, as a graphic novel. The artwork didn't match up with me mental image of the story 100%, and I feel like the entire story just works much better (at least for me) in a book. The graphic novel didn't really capture a lot of the suspense of the original story. It also did leave out a couple points, which is completely understandable as you can't really I'll always like the story of The City of Ember, but I'm pretty sure I'll always like it best in it's original book form. I wasn't crazy about this, as a graphic novel. The artwork didn't match up with me mental image of the story 100%, and I feel like the entire story just works much better (at least for me) in a book. The graphic novel didn't really capture a lot of the suspense of the original story. It also did leave out a couple points, which is completely understandable as you can't really fit it all in here and they weren't really necessary for the plot, which ... I would have liked to see. Overall, it was interesting seeing the story in a different format, but personally, the original book was more for me. ;)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    This was a compelling, fast-paced book whose characters I really wanted to care about, and I did a bit, but as the story felt very much like it was skimming surfaces and the characters also felt surface-y, it was hard to get too invested. Ava says in her gr review: "This story captures the struggle of living in a crumbling corrupt society. I really enjoyed reading this. The illustrations were incredible! The only thing I didn’t like was the size of the book. It cut out most of the details in the o This was a compelling, fast-paced book whose characters I really wanted to care about, and I did a bit, but as the story felt very much like it was skimming surfaces and the characters also felt surface-y, it was hard to get too invested. Ava says in her gr review: "This story captures the struggle of living in a crumbling corrupt society. I really enjoyed reading this. The illustrations were incredible! The only thing I didn’t like was the size of the book. It cut out most of the details in the original story line." I haven't read the prose and it's frustrating to me how often graphic versions of prose books tend to rely on people knowing the prose book to really be a meaningful read. So many of these adaptations just read like illustrated and meager outlines. Ah well. I still really love the form of the gn, and a cool story that's told in a mediocre fashion with great graphic sequential art is better than no story at all. So, I'll keep reading them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ava

    This story captures the struggle of living in a crumbling corrupted society. I really enjoyed reading this. The illustrations were incredible! The only thing I didn’t like was the size of the book. It cut out most of the details in the original story line. If you like suspense and adventure I believe you will love this book. The story folds out rapidly due to the size of the book. The illustrations are really captivating and made me feel as if I was really there. The color scheme in their world g This story captures the struggle of living in a crumbling corrupted society. I really enjoyed reading this. The illustrations were incredible! The only thing I didn’t like was the size of the book. It cut out most of the details in the original story line. If you like suspense and adventure I believe you will love this book. The story folds out rapidly due to the size of the book. The illustrations are really captivating and made me feel as if I was really there. The color scheme in their world gave to the allure of the place they live. The intense struggle of their technology failing gives a sense of uneasiness and the main characters goals are being compromised due to their city’s corruption. I really hope they will make a longer detail by detail version. I didn’t realize that a graphic novel version existed until I did some research on a second movie. I really enjoyed the movie. I felt that it gave a really incredible sense of where they lived and I loved the mystery and their journey to find their way out of their city’s corruption. I felt the book didn’t have much of an intense struggle compared to the movie. Which is strange since books are usually better. In my opinion it seemed the movie had a better storyline. Even though some detail from the book that was needed in the movie wasn’t included.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alyanna Belle

    Looked over the book piles and noticed this, initially thought "hey, this seems interesting..." but it wasn't JUST interesting, it deserves to be known! I have absolutely no idea why this isn't famous. This dystopian idea is classic and ageless. While I have no idea how the actualy book turned out, the graphic retelling is great and well-paced. This is about the city of Ember, with it's lights in the city but beyond that city, everything else is Darkness. This is about a boy with revolutionary id Looked over the book piles and noticed this, initially thought "hey, this seems interesting..." but it wasn't JUST interesting, it deserves to be known! I have absolutely no idea why this isn't famous. This dystopian idea is classic and ageless. While I have no idea how the actualy book turned out, the graphic retelling is great and well-paced. This is about the city of Ember, with it's lights in the city but beyond that city, everything else is Darkness. This is about a boy with revolutionary ideas, Doon; and a girl who loves her younger sibling more than anyone and just wants a better life for them and their grandmother. This is a story about hope and humanity, and home. Beautiful idea for a novel. Beautifully illustrated. Beautiful work. Beautiful, just beautiful!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Zemina

    The art style is interesting, but in all it's actually a rather poor adaptation. I haven't read the original book in four years, so I've forgotten some of the finer details, and I have to say, if someone had never read the book before picking this up, they'd probably be very confused by a lot of what goes on. The pacing is uneven and unnatural, since the narrative was cut down to have a shorter book. And the story suffered for it. None of the characters' relationships with each other are very we The art style is interesting, but in all it's actually a rather poor adaptation. I haven't read the original book in four years, so I've forgotten some of the finer details, and I have to say, if someone had never read the book before picking this up, they'd probably be very confused by a lot of what goes on. The pacing is uneven and unnatural, since the narrative was cut down to have a shorter book. And the story suffered for it. None of the characters' relationships with each other are very well established or developed, making engaging characters feel flat and unrealistic in this graphic novel adaptation. For any true fan of the original City of Ember, I recommend giving this a pass. You're not missing anything and it certainly isn't worth spending money on.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Izzy Book Queen

    ❤❤❤

  12. 3 out of 5

    Valeria

    I read it like last year I think and it is interesting because it is like of mystery

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roberto

    To be a graphic novel I think the book is pretty short, but i can reasure you that this book is very awesome. It has different characters with different things going on and you as a reader need to infer what is going to happen, because believe me, this book has a lot of suspense. And for it to be graphic novel I really enjoyed the book and I would reccomend it to everyone. If there's a second part, I would definetly read it, and at the end, you decide if the ending is bad or good, at least for m To be a graphic novel I think the book is pretty short, but i can reasure you that this book is very awesome. It has different characters with different things going on and you as a reader need to infer what is going to happen, because believe me, this book has a lot of suspense. And for it to be graphic novel I really enjoyed the book and I would reccomend it to everyone. If there's a second part, I would definetly read it, and at the end, you decide if the ending is bad or good, at least for me.

  14. 3 out of 5

    Reading is my Escape

    City of Ember, Graphic Novel - Review     This is a great story made even better by the gorgeous artwork. I read the book a couple years ago but was never interested in the sequels. Now I find myself wondering what happens next. Maybe I will find the next book in graphic novel format too.   I read this as part of Booklikes-opoly as a book beginning with "C". Now that I'm finally finished, I guess I can roll again since it is still the 19th. :)  

  15. 4 out of 5

    putonyourseatbeltz (Dani)

    Honestly, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. I haven't seen the movie, but I had heard great things about this. However, the story fell flat and the plot was thin and undeveloped. I'm sure that there's more to it, but this one... Not a favourite.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Arturo Guzman

    Muy buenas ilustraciones, pero la historia está muy cortada, intentaron abarcar mucho de la historia original en pocas páginas y no se siente nada al ver y leer las aventuras. Es todo muy plano...

  17. 3 out of 5

    Isabel

    This book was pretty good. I think that it rushed through some parts of the book though. It really gives you a view of what you imagined in your head.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    The graphic novel was fun. This makes me want to read the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Best book I’ve read this year!Really cool.It is talking about the city of Ember is the only light in the dark world.Without Ember’s great lamps,it’s gonna dark forever...Then Lina and Doon find the real world.They knew the city the lived is a hole in the real world...At the end of the story they tells all of the peoples the truth.Really good book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Nye

    1.) This graphic novel is easy to follow in that it moves from left to right across the paper. There is also minimal words, which allows the pictures to tell most of the story. The color is "dull" and the panels are neatly organized, so the layout is fairly easy to follow. It would still be important to teach a student how to effectively read a graphic novel. 2.) This is a very powerful graphic novel and I may be hesitant as a teacher to use this, but I do think it would lead to great discussion 1.) This graphic novel is easy to follow in that it moves from left to right across the paper. There is also minimal words, which allows the pictures to tell most of the story. The color is "dull" and the panels are neatly organized, so the layout is fairly easy to follow. It would still be important to teach a student how to effectively read a graphic novel. 2.) This is a very powerful graphic novel and I may be hesitant as a teacher to use this, but I do think it would lead to great discussions in a small-group setting with advanced readers. There is a great, unraveling story line that would allow teachers to address many topics and reading strategies. I would use this book with upper primary, 2nd or 3rd grade. 3.) There is a death (natural) in this book and at times, the situations and pictures can be scary, but if you warn students of this and discuss it before hand, these concerns should not be a problem. It is important to know your audience when you are reading this book so you can be aware of how students may respond.

  21. 3 out of 5

    chase kramer

    The name of my book is THE CITY OF EMBER. The book was by: Jeanne DuPRAU. The genre of my book is Graphic novel. I think that this book is a graphic novel because it is not real. The setting is in a big hole. The main character in my book is Doon and Lina. Doon and lina are trying to get out of the big hole. This book was exciting because it’s cool. This book is cool because in the last 10 pages of the book they try to get out of the big hole. I like this book because they are truthful and down t The name of my book is THE CITY OF EMBER. The book was by: Jeanne DuPRAU. The genre of my book is Graphic novel. I think that this book is a graphic novel because it is not real. The setting is in a big hole. The main character in my book is Doon and Lina. Doon and lina are trying to get out of the big hole. This book was exciting because it’s cool. This book is cool because in the last 10 pages of the book they try to get out of the big hole. I like this book because they are truthful and down to earth. When Lina finds a letter she tells her friend about it. I loved this book. The strengths in this book are that the mayor didn’t stop the kids from doing what they wanted to do. There wasn’t really any weaknesses in this book though. People that like graphic novels then you will like this book. I hope they make a second one to this book.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Alaina Sloo

    Nice art, and a fine graphic novel for older primary school children who devour graphic novels, but it condenses the story to the barest plot lines and doesn't give kids time to experience the things that made the original book so appealing to kids: things like feeling what life underground in Ember was like and knowing the characters well enough to root for them.

  23. 3 out of 5

    Kira McGann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This graphic version of Ember does an excellent job capturing the character’s raw emotions and visual appearance, moving easily from panel to panel, and providing effective use of light and shadow to give it that dim, dark underworld feel. I look forward to the graphic version of the next book in the series, The People of Sparks.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nickcole

    Rating: 4 The art was AMAZING and the story was just the added bonus. The ending left you with a bit of a cliffhanger and now I want to get my hands on the next book to find out what happens to the City of Ember.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kassie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. the art was so creepy in the city of ember! i loved that she couldn't leave her sister when they escape

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    They stayed remarkably true to the novel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Parker

    This graphic novel I enjoyed. I's pretty colorful and the drawings look great. The only thing is that I think they made Lina and Doon too young. ( Well, like how they look.) Nice book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    I bought this for my son at his school’s bookfair. Previously I had listened to The City of Ember on audiobook and thought it was okay but not great. I feel the same way about this graphic novel, everything about it okay but not great. My biggest issue with this graphic novel is that I feel like it strips away a lot of the mystery and dank ambiance of the novel. The dialogue is stripped down as well and made very simple. I felt like a lot of the important underlying dystopian issues the novel add I bought this for my son at his school’s bookfair. Previously I had listened to The City of Ember on audiobook and thought it was okay but not great. I feel the same way about this graphic novel, everything about it okay but not great. My biggest issue with this graphic novel is that I feel like it strips away a lot of the mystery and dank ambiance of the novel. The dialogue is stripped down as well and made very simple. I felt like a lot of the important underlying dystopian issues the novel addresses are simplified or just omitted from the graphic novel. The illustration is decent and in full color. While I enjoyed the color palette used I wasn’t a huge can of how the people were illustrated...they all had very similar looking faces and bodies. Even given this the graphic novel was easy enough to follow. Overall I thought this was okay but nothing special. If you were a huge fan of the original book (which I wasn’t) this might be a fun journey down memory lane for you. I would definitely recommend the book over the graphic novel because I feel like the graphic novel skims over a lot of the important issues that made the full length book special.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Amanda Drover-Hartwick

    3.5/5 My son and I borrowed The City of Ember, a middle grade dystopian graphic novel, from our local library to read together at bedtime. We both LOVED this book! The setting is dark, atmospheric, and mysterious. While the plot may be simple, this novel does talk about serious topics such as death, secrets, lies, and duty, lightening things up with family, friendship, and adventure. "Ember has existed for 241 years. There is no place but Ember. It is the only light in the dark world." The two main 3.5/5 My son and I borrowed The City of Ember, a middle grade dystopian graphic novel, from our local library to read together at bedtime. We both LOVED this book! The setting is dark, atmospheric, and mysterious. While the plot may be simple, this novel does talk about serious topics such as death, secrets, lies, and duty, lightening things up with family, friendship, and adventure. "Ember has existed for 241 years. There is no place but Ember. It is the only light in the dark world." The two main characters are twelve-year-old classmates Lina and Doon. Lina is a very responsible young teen who helps take care of her younger sister and sick Grandmother. She's smart, and courageous. Doon is more careful than Lina. He's an intelligent, compassionate, bookworm. The dark colours used throughout adds to the gloomy atmosphere. We both love the style of the graphics. The dialogue was simple and at times abrupt, which created a lack of character emotion. My son said the one thing he didn't like was how simple the plot was ("there wasn't much going on"). I haven't read the original novel, but have heard it's much better than the graphic novel, so I'm interested to give that a try. We recommend The City of Ember to fans of middle grade graphic novels. There are four books in this series, the next book is called The People of Sparks Rating: Plot 3/5 characters 3/5 graphics 5/5 dialogue 3/5 Overall: 3.5/5

  30. 5 out of 5

    Visha Khan

    So I have not read the actual book to this graphic novel, but I did enjoy this enough to want to try the actual book. I think the idea for this story was great but that this graphic novel did not execute it well. I couldn't truly feel the emotions in the story, they weren't conveyed well and the book felt choppy to me in various areas. The characters felt bland and I couldn't care about them like I had hoped to. The reason I am giving this a 2.5 stars is because I really did enjoy the artwork, in So I have not read the actual book to this graphic novel, but I did enjoy this enough to want to try the actual book. I think the idea for this story was great but that this graphic novel did not execute it well. I couldn't truly feel the emotions in the story, they weren't conveyed well and the book felt choppy to me in various areas. The characters felt bland and I couldn't care about them like I had hoped to. The reason I am giving this a 2.5 stars is because I really did enjoy the artwork, in areas where the text did not do the story justice, the artwork saved it. I also thought this plot line was a unique idea and I am interested in picking up the full novel. I have high hopes that I'll enjoy that more since there will be a lot more detail and I hope I'll connect a bit more with the characters and feel the true emotional depth of this story.

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